Postgraduate training: how to make the most of workplace-based assessments

This article reflects the conversations in the breakout group on this topic at the Recently Appointed Consultants symposium on Monday 22 February 2016.


Workplace Based Assessments (WBPA’s) are a key tool in healthcare education.  They are designed to facilitate both learning and assessment. Training in the use of WPBA’s is essential to their effectiveness.  

WPBA’s are often seen as ‘tick boxes’ or superfluous paperwork.  When viewed as such they will rarely assist the learner or the trainer.  A short period of online training can transform your ability to utilize WPBA’s to the advantage of the trainee, trainer, and wider service development.  

The development of formal or informal local networks of trainers can assist with calibration.

Keeping records of the WBPA’s you fill on e-portfolio is easy if you enter your username and password each time you fill a form.

At appraisal it is advisable to look back at the last year of WPBA’s you have conducted and ask:
Does my marking effectively discriminate between different levels of trainee performance?  
Has my advice for improvement been relevant and practical?  Is this evidenced by improvements in serial WPBA’s for individual trainees?

Useful links for training in the use of WPBA’s and for defining the goals of WPBA’s can be found at:


Breakout Group Leader: Dr Graham Nimmo, Consultant Physician, Western General Hospital, Edinburgh

Reviewed & updated: December 2019 - website updated May 2020, reviewed September 2021